The city of Delaware is seeking photos, letters and artwork from active military or veterans, as well as their family or friends, for the new Veterans Memorial Plaza.
“We’re looking for people who have previously or are currently serving in the military, any children who write letters to their parents or family members over there or have done different artwork for them,” said Ashley Swazuk, an urban designer for OHM Advisors, the architects for the plaza. “If they have photos of when they were in the military, those can be submitted as well. We’re looking to incorporate some of these things into the park.”
The original images will be scanned into a computer and transferred onto pieces of glass that will be mounted to what the plaza’s designers call “Walls of Gratitude.” (Depending on the size of the item, it can be scaled to be larger or smaller.) The wave-like undulating walls, filled with personal letters and photographs, will share the stories of servicemen and servicewomen.
The images may be sent or dropped off by present or past Delaware County community members, as well as those who work in the county, to: City of Delaware, in care of Jacqueline Walker, 1 S. Sandusky St., Delaware OH 43015. The city will need them by April 6.
City officials encourage participants to include contact information (name, address, phone number) with the item or on the envelope so it can be returned.
“The Walls of Gratitude are kind of in the center of the park. They’ve already been constructed,” Swazuk said. “Everything is going really well. The walls are coming up, (and) the memorials are being reviewed right now. We’re working on all the plaques, so everything is moving along.”
The Veterans Memorial Plaza will be between the National Guard Training Center and the Delaware Community Center YMCA. The plaza will include a gathering space for community events, sculptural elements detailing America’s wars and each branch of the military, customized stones with the names of veterans, and the restored cannon from “The Point.” It is slated to open on Memorial Day weekend.
“It’s a great opportunity for some of these residents or business owners or people that work in Delaware County to be part of the park for a lifetime,” said Swazuk, who has worked on similar projects. “This one is going to be really nice just because it’s going to have a lot of pieces from the community members, and allowing those people the opportunity to have some of their family history within a local park.”
For more information, contact OHM at 614-474-1112 or 614-474-1129.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.